Highlands & Islands

Inverness Beechwood campus plan deferred

Artist's impression of Beechwood. Pic: UHI
Image caption An artist's impression of the Beechwood site

Councillors have decided to defer a decision on planning permission for a new campus on the outskirts of Inverness.

It has been proposed to develop Beechwood as a base for the University of the Highlands and Islands and a research and business centre.

Highland Council granted planning permission in principle in May 2011.

A masterplan and design guidelines had been submitted for approval, but a decision on them was delayed.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is leading the project.

Developing Beechwood would require improvements to busy roads near the site.

It was understood that this was among the reasons for the deferral.

'Positive impact'

Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey planning applications committee may hold a special meeting on the proposal within the next few weeks.

David Henderson, councillor for Inverness Ness-side, said the timescale for the campus was tight.

He said the committee may try to consider the plans before the end of September.

Ruaraidh MacNeil, Inverness Campus Project director, said it was a major development which would have a massive positive impact on the city and the region.

He added: "Safe and smooth traffic flow is a vital part of HIE's plans, and we fully recognise the public interest in this particular aspect.

"Naturally, we'd been hoping for a positive outcome from today's meeting, but the deferral is only for a few weeks and should not have a material effect on the overall timescale.

"We look forward to discussing access and other aspects of the campus project with councillors and officials in the near future."

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